Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan

Imagine the reflection of different colors in the water, their play and sparkle in the sun rays of the. There above the fountain was an amazingly beautiful stained glass ceiling, destroyed during the bombing in 1943. It is located inside a two-story house where Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli lived. Collecting was his lifelong occupation, a passion he inherited from his mother, Rosa Trivulzio. Her father, in turn, owned an exquisite art collection.

Poldi Pezzoli managed to collect truly unique collection, which after his death he bequeathed for public purposes. The museum was opened to the public in 1881, two years after the death of the owner. Initially, the private collection included medieval weapons and knight armor.

One of the houses pecularity is its interior design, made in a variety of styles, from the Middle Ages to Rococo, so that each item in the collection corresponds to a specific environment. The museum collection includes, besides to armor and weapons, 15th-19th centuries paintings, furniture and interior objects, sculptures by Italian craftsmen, Venetian glass, porcelain, Persian carpets, Flemish tapestries, a collection of the 15th-19th centuries books, one of the largest clocks and watch collections in Italy. The museum symbol is a famous portrait of a young woman by Piero del Pollaiolo, created circa 1470. This painting is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Florentine Renaissance portraiture.

The museum has a fascinating jewelry collection: archaeological finds from the times of the Etruscans, Greeks, Romans, jewelry from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, XVII-XVIII centuries, as well as jewelry created by Fortunato Pio Castellani for Rosa Trivulzio.

The ring collection is striking and outstanding. It represents some of the most common designs of the Renaissance. For example, the ring design with enamel and pearls in the centre is not so simple as it might seem: in the central part there is an invisible lock and a secret compartment in which medical powder or poison was stored. Its size indicates that the ring most likely belonged to a man or was worn over a glove with other rings.

Some sentimental jewelry of personal value has only been exhibited in the museum since 1905. There was a close connection between Rosa Trevulzio and her son. He never married, although, they say, he was surrounded by female admirers. When Rosa died in 1859, Gian Giacomo put in his office a bust of his mother, created for her by Bartolini and hung around its neck a luxurious gold necklace with cameos, which she loved very much.

The cameo parure was made by the Italian jeweler Fortunato Pio Castellani. Athena is depicted on the central cameo, Cupid and Psyche on the clasp. Many of these cameos were most likely copies of antique originals from the jeweler’s collection. The gold parure with black jet was bought from the workshop of Castellani by Rosa Trevultius as a mourning jewelry: her husband died in 1833.

Among the precious treasures of the Poldi Pezzoli, one of the most important and famous house-museums in the world, are not only jewelry but also sacred goldsmith objects, enamels, wunderkammer objects. They represent an unique collection for their rarity and quality.

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